Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chaos in the Old World Review

Today I am looking at Chaos in the Old World.  It's a fantastic marriage of American and European style gameplay principles.  It also has a fantastic theme if you are into the darker side of things.  It was published in  2009 by Fantasy Flight Games, and designed by Eric M Lang.  Eric M Lang has also designed many of my other favorite games, including Warhammer: Invasion and Quarriors.  But without further delay, lets get started.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eminent Domain Review

It was released in 2011 by Tasty Minstrel Games, and was designed by Seth Jaffee.  I was actually able to get a copy shortly after it came out at Gencon in 2011.  I got lucky and played a round in the game library and immediately went to go purchase my own copy.

Eminent Domain cooled on me, and was a game that like 7 Wonders, I got bored with early.  I almost passed it over completely after a handful of plays, but decided to go back to it, this time really looking for depth, as opposed to hoping the game would show it to me.  I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Monday, March 25, 2013

PAX East 2013

So I made it to Boston this weekend for PAX East 2013. I had a fantastic time, and I spent most of it in the game room. So here is everything I played, and what I thought of it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Zombie Dice Review

Rule Summary

The game comes with a cup full of dice.  On your turn you will draw three of them and roll them.  You keep the brains, which are points.  You also keep the shotgun blasts.  The footprints, which are "runners" you reroll once you've drawn back up to three dice from the cup.  If you ever have three shotgun blasts, your turn is over and you lose the points you earned this turn.  You can choose to stop whenever you want and bank your points.  Once a player gets 13 brains, every other player gets an equal number of turns, and then the game ends.  The player with the most brains wins.  That was easy.

Timelapse of play

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Should You Reward Success?

Rewarding success in board games is a tricky proposition.  Reward players too much and the game can cease to be competitive past a certain point.  Lagging players can be easily alienated and become bored.  Fail to reward successful play enough and the game takes on a feeling of being too artificially balanced.  It feels like no matter what you do, you do about as well as everyone else, and the winner comes down to whatever random variance is built into the game.  Today I'd like to look at numerous games, what they do well, what they don't do well, and try to come to some sort of conclusion about what makes a good reward system.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Dice Post

Balance is a tricky issue.  If you start both players off with the exact same starting position and capabilities, it is likely true that your game rewards skill and experience.  Even in the best of games of this type, it results in a somewhat dry game.  Incredibly deep and fun games, but typically quite dry.  Sadly, many games also fall far short of their depth mark.  Depth in a purely deterministic game is hard to pull off.  It typically requires there to be some sort of emergent quality to the rules.  And emergence is difficult to purposely accomplish.

So most games take a different path, and introduce a variety of mechanics to liven up gameplay, but maintain balance.  Randomness, asymmetry, variable set ups, and so on.  So today I'm going to be taking a long hard look at dice.  How dice effect the gameplay, the depth of the dilemmas in the game, and the nature of the player interaction.

7 Wonders Review

7 Wonders was released in 2010 by Asmodee Games, and was designed by Antoine Bauza.  It is a game I've frequently been rather hot or cold about.  I'll go through periods where I desperately want to play it more.  Then I'll get bored of it rather quickly again.  A part of me wonders if this is because the game doesn't have enough meat on it's bones for me, or because I haven't delved deeply enough into it?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ingenious Review

Ingenious is probably one of Reiner Knizia's more accessible games.  Published in 2004, it was an immediate hit.  On a personal level, it was one of the few abstract games I enjoyed at the time.  Many abstract games seemed overly complicated and obtuse at the time I was first getting into board gaming as a more serious hobby.  So, years later, here are my thoughts on it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Battle Line Review

Battle Line was released in 2000 by the ever fantastic GMT Games.  It was designed by the illustrious Reiner Knizia, although it was a retheming of a game called Schotten-Totten.

Battle Line is a very quick two player card game.  It falls in the same category as Lost Cities and Dragonheart among others.  In theory it is set during Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian Empire, but you'd only know it because two of the special cards in the game are Alexander and Darius, and they cannot be played by the same person.  So here is what I think of it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kingdom Builder Review

Kingdom Builder was released in 2011 and was designed by Donald X Vaccarino of Dominion fame.  It won a few awards, and has been received by people either quite well, or quite poorly.  Since it came from the same wellspring as Dominion, expectations may have been running a bit high.  That said, I've found it to be a very enjoyable light to medium abstract game.